The Grave Diggers bikie gang featured a number of characters who had colorful names. Theses included Bad Max, Blue, Boots, Buzzard, Captain Midnight, Dr Death, Euridyce, Ferret, Go Down, Hooks, Karma, Midnight, Pinball, Scrag, Septic, 69, Skunk, Stinkfinger, Sunshine, Tiger, Toad, Undertaker and Zonk.
This movie is somewhat considered a precursor to Mad Max (1979). David Stratton in his book 'The Last New Wave' states that this movie " . . . bears many similarities to the [later] Mad Max (1979) and is, in a sense, its forerunner. Both deal with anti-social bikie gangs, both have as their title protagonist a policeman who is as rough as the criminals he's trying to capture, both feature characters with bizarre names . . . ". Even DVD releases of this movie have boasted a tagline suggesting this: "Before MAD MAX and THE ROAD WARRIOR There Was STONE".
This movie's original theatrical cut ran 132 minutes. Reportedly, director Sandy Harbutt was relatively unhappy with this version. During the 1980s, when the movie was optioned for home video release by Roadshow Home Video (a division of Roadshow Film Distributors), Harbutt requested that he be able to re-cut his film so that it reflected his original vision. The original Australian video release (circa 1985) runs 98 minutes and carries a "Director Approved" message coupled with Harbutt's signature. It is this significantly shorter "Director's Cut", inclusive of Premium Film's 1995 21st Anniversary re-release, that has replaced all previous versions of the film. The Australian DVD releases also run at this shorter hour-and-a-half length. Harbutt has said of the half-hour shorter version, the only one available on video: "I just look at the picture as it is and as it was and as far as I'm concerned, the picture should be as it is. That's what I want the world to see".
This picture was theatrically released in the UK for the first time eight years after its Australian premiere season. 'Time Out' states: "Eight years after its Australian debut, 'Stone' was wheeled onto the British circuits by distributors clearly chasing the audience that made the Mad Max (1979) cycle so successful".
Sandy Harbutt performed a number of roles on this movie. Harbutt was director, co-scriptwriter, producer, production designer, songwriter, and lead actor playing Undertaker, the leader of the Grave Diggers Bikie gang.
Vanessa refers to Stone as "... a telegram boy from the PMG ...". The PMG was the Post-Master General's department, a single organization responsible for mail and telephones throughout Australia until 1975.
The script for this movie originated in 1970 as an episode of the Australian police drama television series The Long Arm (1970). Sandy Harbutt was playing a detective on the TV show. When the series got canceled, Harbutt re-worked the script into a feature length movie.
The meaning and relevance of this movie's 'Stone' title is that it refers to the name of the central character, a cop, played by Ken Shorter who infiltrates a motorbike gang. The word "stoned" was common in the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s referring to the intoxicated state one gets from taking drugs and itself the title of a few movies. A joke reference to Stone's name and its similarity to "stoned" is made in this movie.
This movie was taken to the Cannes Film Festival in 1980 in order to seek world-wide distribution. This was about six years after its premiere theatrical release in Australia. The spark for this was this film's similarity to the international box-office success of Mad Max (1979) which had launched a year earlier in 1979.
Garry McDonald: The popular Australian comedian as a motorcycle mechanic. In 1975, McDonald became well known on television in Australia for starring as the comic character Norman Gunstan. This was McDonald's second feature film after Avengers of the Reef (1973).